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BAD MEXICANS

RACE, EMPIRE, & REVOLUTION IN THE BORDERLANDS

A beautifully crafted, impressively inclusive history of the Mexican Revolution.

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An astute historical analysis of how Mexican resistance to longtime authoritarian President Porfirio Díaz resonated on both sides of the U.S.–Mexico border.

In her latest, Lytle Hernández, a MacArthur fellow and professor of history and African American studies at UCLA, delivers a gripping cross-border study. Díaz installed himself as president in 1876 and, for close to three decades, invited U.S. investment in Mexico at the expense of his country’s most disadvantaged and marginalized citizens. In response, brothers Jesús and Ricardo Flores Magón, whose family suffered financial ruin at the hands of Díaz and his policies, organized a grassroots resistance movement called the magonistas, a group the president disparaged as “malos Mexicanos.” While the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917) is usually discussed in the context of its influence on Central America, the author argues convincingly that it “also remade the United States.” Indeed, the magonista movement had headquarters in San Antonio, St. Louis, and Los Angeles, and its members were partially motivated by the mistreatment of Mexicans in the U.S., especially the consequence-free murders of immigrant laborers, “act[s] of racial terror akin to the lynching of African Americans in the South.” As Lytle Hernández shows, the U.S. government continued to provide support to Díaz’s corrupt regime, including the hiring of spies to infiltrate the magonista movement. Eventually, Díaz made a series of tactical errors that resulted in the loss of American support—and, ultimately, an end to his dictatorial rule. All of these events shaped not just the formation of modern Mexico; they also defined the tenor of Mexican-American relations that continues to this day. The author combines a masterful grasp of archival material and accessible prose, transforming what could have been a dry academic work into a page-turner. Lytle Hernández fully develops each character and thoroughly contextualizes each historical event. Furthermore, her inclusion of Indigenous and feminist voices is both refreshing and necessary.

A beautifully crafted, impressively inclusive history of the Mexican Revolution.

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-324-00437-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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